As Covid restrictions have eased and more of us are spending time mixing, it seems like everyone has a cough right now.
Dr Peter English, a retired consultant in communicable disease control and past chair of the BMA Public Health Medicine Committee, previously told HuffPost why so many of us are ill right now.
“We’re suddenly going out and about without taking precautions like masks, and reaching more people. And so we’re being exposed to all those coughs and flu viruses that we haven’t been exposed to for a couple of years, or had very little exposure to,” he said.
Whether it’s Covid, flu or or the common cold, having a cough is not fun, especially if you’re finding yourself coughing continuously. So here’s some advice for managing your symptoms and recovering as soon as possible.
How to manage a cough if it’s due to Covid
Whilst recovering from Covid you may continue to experience a dry cough for some time, according to the NHS. But continues, excessive coughing causes irritation and inflammation, which worsens the cough and repeats the cycle.
Because of this, the health service recommends practising a “normal breathing pattern” to control the cough
This is: “Gentle, quiet, diaphragmatic (tummy breathing- feeling the tummy rise and fall as you breathe in and out), nose breathing at rest to start with. Aim to practise this little and often so that it becomes habit. Progress this by practising with gentle activity as you are able.”
Other techniques to help with reducing your cough:
Close your mouth and swallow.
Gently breathe in and out through your nose, until the urge to cough goes away.
Sip drinks regularly (hot or cold).
Suck boiled sweets or lozenges.
How to manage a general cough
There are a number of reasons you may have a cough even though you’ve tested negative for Covid, which include flu and the common cold.
For managing a general cough, the NHS suggests that you should rest and drink plenty of fluids.
It also suggests:
paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat any pain
hot lemon and honey (not suitable for babies under 1 year old)
a herbal medicine called pelargonium (suitable for people aged 12 or over)
If your cough lasts for more than three weeks, the NHS advises you to see your GP. And if you start to feel unwell with a cough, experience chest pain, struggle to breathe or start coughing up blood, book an urgent appointment or call NHS 111.